Scientists have made impressive progress in the understanding of human aging. They now generally agree that aging is malleable and capable of being slowed – that it is possible to make life at 80 feel more like life at 60. This has opened the door for breakthroughs in fighting the single risk factor common to nearly every disease—aging itself.
By better understanding this “common denominator” of aging, scientists could usher in a new era of preventative medicine. But there is a significant gap between this promising basic research and its clinical application.
The Alliance for Aging Research’s Healthspan Campaign is helping close this gap and advocate for research into the basic biology of aging. Key campaign documents include:
The Common Denominator Research Agenda – Under the Alliance’s leadership, US and European scientists worked for nearly a year to reach consensus on the most promising research opportunities in the science of aging. With sufficient funding, these opportunities in cell replacement, inflammation, stress responses, and new tools and models could yield significant progress within a decade.
The Transformative Promise of Aging Research – Produced by the Alliance and science author David Stipp, this paper details the social, economic, and political benefits of aging research that justify a major shift in funding. It clearly explains the compelling need for well-coordinated research for policymakers, funders, and the public alike.
The Alliance is launching a three-tiered effort to build support for the Healthspan Campaign that includes:
Consensus Building – Recognizing that consensus-building among prominent leaders is critical to success, the Alliance has secured explicit endorsements from scores of prominent scientific and medical experts, including Nobel laureates, in the US and other countries, in support of this pursuit of advances in health derived from aging research.
Communications Outreach -Generating public awareness and support is critical. The Alliance is deploying traditional and new media strategies, developing media materials, organizing press briefings and panel discussions, placing op-eds by thought-leaders, and engaging through social media.
Political Strategy – The Alliance is also taking its case directly to policymakers, promoting a coordinated initiative to accelerate the pace of research into the mechanisms of aging across the National Institutes of Health, establishing a scientific advisory council to communicate with policymakers and the media, and organizing an annual aging research day in Washington.